During my week long stay at Leh, I had numerous thought bubbles that I wished to capture. However, due to preoccupation with various important things that come up during a trip like that I could only pen down four such meandering bubbles. For much of my thoughts, it does not make much of a sense, but then senselessness often is the only refuge worth aiming for.
1) Mountain talk!
2) Mountains and the story of lost love!
3) Mountain drive!
4) Mountain Kings, and Viking snow caps
Years ago, I love you was all that there was to the world. The words were revolutionary. But now, these are just words. Two mountains, standing next to each other. Some like soul mates. I wondered how after years of togetherness they would recall how their togetherness came to being and how they through centuries grew together. “I met you as a stranger, I said something, you said something, and in middle of that conversation I wanted to spend my entire life with you. Next to you, forever.”
While some like sworn brothers. They would have started out as, “I will be taller than you. Oh really! Well I will be snow-capped, you grow all tall, I will be broad and snow flushed. Alright! Whatever, let us get a couple of drinks and block them ravenous winds from passing through.” And then they grew around and alongside each other over unending cycle of time and space.
Mountains and the story of lost love!
During my week long getaway, there were moments that I used steal for myself and my own thoughts. And in some of those moments I would think of stories that I have never heard before. I would think them to flesh and blood in my imagination. One such day, when I was talking a long walk into the Leh market, a story called out to me.
“A very long time ago, when the sun and moon were not named, when the wind didn’t know which way to blow, when the water didn’t know whether to flow up or down, there were these two young lovers—Alaya the princess of fragrance and Him the god of wind. They were the only two folks on this beautiful land. They used to spend their evenings looking at the setting sun and would be back again to honour the rising sun in the morning. Days, weeks, months, years, centuries and millennia passed and they kept at their simple routine and filled the mountains with beautiful fragrance of love.
Then one day, the first man, a traveller reached Leh. He witnessed the wondrous dance of the lovers; he revelled in their romance that filled the air with mesmerizing fragrance. He presented himself before the lovers and sought their audience. He shared stories of his travel from a world that was far away and far different from this beautiful land. He urged Alaya to give away a part of her to him so that he could take her fragrance back to the world from where he came from. He cajoled them to this end and promised that in return he will give something that will always stay with Him. The lovers agreed, and the traveller took a small portion of Alaya into his glass vial. Instantly, Him started to feel a new feeling. It was the feeling of missing Alaya, as in the glass vial there was no air—Him, the god of Wind, did not understand this feeling but it grew on him over time, forever.
The traveller went back to his land and shared the fragrance with his world. The men and women in his land had never experienced something as powerful as Alaya’s fragrance. Soon the little vial with her fragrance was not enough for the traveller’s world and the greedy men and women travelled through the difficult terrain to source more of Alaya. They came and trapped her in large jars, bottles and what not. The more of her they took away, the more Him started to miss her until the day came when there was no more of Alaya left in Leh, except in Him’s heart and in his yearning for her. Until this day, he yearns for her in those solitary mountains. A tale of unending and lost love.
This is the story of Alaya and Him, the story of Him and Alaya—the story of Himalaya!
Going through the meandering mountain terrain, my feeling to return back to civilization faded at an exponential rate. I wanted the drive to never end, I mean never. I felt utterly empty, and in a neutral sense. No desire, no expectations, no nothings. Just being at the moment. Soaking all that was around like a sponge. The senses were first enamoured and then were slowly numbed. Life back in the hustle-bustle of the city seemed futile. The linkages and attachments to life’s semantics were unreal. No matter how beautiful, or how rooted I was to people, experiences, or my way of life back home, that drive made me feel like receding into a dot. A dot! That’s what life seemed to me. The ups and downs , the peaks and troughs, the joy and sadness, the wave of success and the treacherous chasm of failure. All these evened out to a dot for me at that moment.
Mountain Kings, and Viking snow caps
I couldn’t stop myself from being awestruck by the big brothers of hard rock—literally. The drive to Pangong Lake was five hours plus and all my eyes saw were these monstrous mountains, these legends, that monumental demonstration of over-bearance. They stood there, as if in guard; no, no, not as if in guard, but perhaps just stood there for that’s what they preferred doing. These mountains of Ladhak, amidst the bareness of the desert, rose high and broad sombrely announcing their stature.